The public sector has traditionally focused on problems over opportunities. They’ve defined success as less bad things. Looking top-down, they’ve confused symptoms for causes. Innovation has meant joining-up and improving access to the same problem-reducing services.
The young people, older people, families and substance users we’ve worked with do not define success as the absence of problems, or even as better services. First, they talk about living lives full of good things. Then, they talk about the services and supports that can help them do that. This has led us to a problem-solving approach that starts with outcomes.
An approach that works in, with, for communities to work backwards from outcomes to co-designed solutions. An approach that defines innovation as prototyping, embedding, and measuring new practice and policy to enable better living and doing.
We think outcomes should be in terms of good living, not good services. While we can’t define the good life–that’s for the people we work with to do–we can set out a few starting points. The good life is more than the absence of problems. The good life is about the freedom to do, to be, and to grow.
We ask critical questions and use methods that bring people together to develop and scale different answers. Our work is guided by a set of principles: